Experience Six Degrees of Freedom in XR Development

Monday 10/23/17 10:03am
Posted By Hiren Bhinde
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Extended Reality (XR) encapsulates Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), and everything in between. Previously in XR, users have only been able to look in the X/Y/Z axes yielding three degrees of freedom (3DoF). This was great for stationary 360-degree video experiences, but underwhelming when it came to total immersion. Unlocking movement on the X/Y/Z axes, in addition to looking in the X/Y/Z axes, gives developers a total of six degrees of freedom (6Dof) and a much more immersive user experience.

Look-only 3DoF vs. look & movement 6DoF
Image: Look-only 3DoF vs. look & movement 6DoF.

Now that users can operate in 6DoF they want to move around more, but the current tethered VR solutions can hinder that ability. The Snapdragon® 835 VR Development Kit is designed to support 6DoF in a standalone mobile solution. It does this by harnessing the power of the Qualcomm Adreno™ 540 GPU and the Qualcomm Hexagon™ DSP. The Adreno 540 GPU offers Open GL ES 3.2 and DirectX 12 support in a 10nm package, and the Hexagon DSP is dedicated to offloading the 6DoF calculations from the GPU while sampling at 800Hz. All of this power packed into a head mounted device (HMD) unlocks the potential for truly immersive experiences.

The Ins and Outs of Tracking

To create 6DoF the Snapdragon VR Dev Kit combines two monochromatic (1280 x 800) global shutter cameras and an inertial measurement unit with fast interface Snapdragon 835 integrated sensor core. It then uses the DSP Sensor Fusion that is built into the SDK to combine camera images along with high frequency positional data as well as high frequency inertial data from gyroscopes and accelerometers to provide the final tracking data.


Inside-Out Motion Tracking

Stereo Visual-Inertial Odometry (VIO)

What is 6DoF?

Tracks user movement via cameras & sensors inside the HMD.

Uses dual cameras & motion sensors to track a moving device.

What does it do?

Precise, low-latency tracking of head movements to increase immersion and reduce motion sickness.

Combined with inside-out motion tracking, on-device VIO reduces latency and makes 6DoF possible.

Faster and more accurate than monocular (single) VIO.

How does it work?

Snapdragon Sensor Core and predictive head position processing with the Hexagon DSP.

Two monochromatic (1280 x 800) global shutter cameras in the HMD.

Immerse Yourself in XR Development

Ready to get started with 6DoF? Check out these resources on Qualcomm Developer Network:

  • Snapdragon VR SDK - Provides developer access to optimized, advanced VR features on Snapdragon VR devices.
  • 3D Audio Tools - Suite of tools designed to help create true-to-life immersive 3D audio experiences including support for scene-based audio.
  • Snapdragon 835 VR Development Kit - Standalone and untethered all-in-one VR headset with 6DoF support, powered by the Snapdragon 835 mobile platform.

Hardware makers can also take advantage of our HMD Accelerator Program to utilize Qualcomm Technologies reference designs and/or work with a turnkey original design manufacturer.

Whatever your role in XR development, and whoever you’re building immersive realities for, Qualcomm Developer Network has the tech, tools, and resources to help. Sign up for email updates to keep up with the latest from QDN.